March 15, 2019
On Thursday, it was my honor to speak at an event here in Washington called, "Making Families Great Again: The Role of Family and Marriage in Modern Society." This was not unusual for a pro-family group. What was unusual was the sponsor -- the Embassy of Hungary.
The relatively small nation of Hungary (population 10 million) has emerged in recent years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as an international leader in promoting pro-family policies. FRC's Travis Weber and Peter Sprigg attended the World Congress of Families held in Budapest in 2017, and that began a relationship which has continued with several subsequent meetings at the Embassy and at FRC with visiting Hungarian dignitaries.
Thursday's event brought together both Hungarian and American thought leaders on these issues for further discussions. I participated in a panel asking, "What is the role of governments and civil society in supporting families?" Hungary's policies were described by Katalin Novak, Hungary's Minister of State for Family Affairs, who was a chief organizer of the World Congress in Budapest and has been a guest on the "Washington Watch" radio show. Hungary, like many developed countries, faced a demographic crisis brought on by declining birth rates. However, in less than a decade they have turned the trend around with a range of subsidies and policies to encourage couples to have children.
I noted that in the U.S., we are more likely to use indirect measures such as the child tax credit, rather than direct subsidies, to accomplish such goals. I commended the Hungarians for putting in their constitution the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the recognition of human life as beginning at conception. As a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I also praised Hungary for its commitment to religious liberty and the defense of persecuted Christians around the world. We look forward to continuing to work with Ambassador Laszlo Szabo, the government of Hungary, and our other pro-family, pro-religious freedom allies around the world.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.